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Modern Design Helps Reinvent the Wheelchair

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 06 Oct 2014
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Image: The Movi patient chair (Photo courtesy of  Movi Medical).
Image: The Movi patient chair (Photo courtesy of Movi Medical).
A new concept in patient chairs intended for hospitals, nursing facilities, or home-bound seniors could replace the old-fashioned wheelchair.

Designed based on input from a team of experts assembled at the University of Alabama (UAB; Birmingham, USA), the Movi chair attempts to address eight key items, including increased maneuverability, low rolling resistance, minimizing patient falls, improving access into and out of the chair, minimizing staff injuries from assisting patients, and integrating medical equipment (such as IV poles or catheter bags), as a way to make the chair more efficient.

The result is a comfortable, ergonomically designed lift chair that rolls easily and can carry an array of medical equipment. The battery-powered motor can pivot on its axis to raise or lower a patient up to 20 degrees; when the chair is raised, the integrated footrest lies flat on the floor, making it much easier for a patient to get into or out of the chair, minimizing fall risk and the likelihood of injury to transport staff. The chair even contains a 170 liter hold for the patient’s belongings. The Movi chair is a product of Movi Medical (Birmingham, AL, USA).

“Every hospital around the world uses a conventional wheelchair that was developed as a self-propelled mobility device, and was never intended to be used in hospital applications,” said Movi designer Lloyd Cooper, of Movi Medical, a company created to design, build and market the new chair. “A wheelchair is one of the most compromised seating environments imaginable. It should be the reverse. Those who need a chair need the very best chair.”

“We’ve become more aware in recent years of the number of injuries to nurses and patient care technicians, as well as family members, from lifting patients,” said Cynthia Brown, MD, director of the UAB Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care and one of the consulting team for Movi. “We see back injuries and shoulder injuries, and have found that a whole segment of our workforce is at risk as they attempt to mobilize patients.”

Movi Medical also offers Movi 2, a second-generation chair, which is designed for the home and nursing facility market. It has additional creature comforts such as an adjustable headrest, fully padded arm supports, folding side table, extended leg rests, and side storage pockets. It is even available in custom colors and fabrics to match a home’s décor.

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